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Shirley May King Toombs: ‘It’s been a good ride!’

Born March 31, 1928, in Melstone, Montana, Shirley was the only child of Celia Stensvad King and Roy King. Shirley attended the one room Rattlesnake School north of Sumatra, Montana, then completed elementary and junior high at the Sumatra School. She completed high school in Forsyth graduating in 1944 at age 16.

Shirley spent a year at Montana State University, then attended the Northwest Institute of Medical Technology in Minneapolis. After working as a medical technician in Bozeman, she married Robert Toombs in November of 1947. In an extended honeymoon period, Shirley accompanied Bob on his trips around Montana when he was a salesman for Pierce Packing in Billings. They then took the opportunity to live and ranch on the King place. Bobby came along in 1950, and when the twins, Mark and Galynn arrived in 1951, Shirley decided that it was time to leave the ranch. Kathryn arrived 12 years later in 1963, in Wallace Idaho, one of Shirley’s favorite homes.

Bob’s career in broadcasting and sales took the family to Michigan, Idaho, California, Montana and Colorado. In 1970 they relocated to Billings where they later retired. They moved to Red Lodge in 1982 and loved being part of the Red Lodge community, with Shirley joining the All Nations Garden Club, Red Hats and the Carbon County Memorial Hospital Association. The Beartooth Hospital Ladies Auxiliary, also known as the Pink Ladies, was a cause she was cared deeply about, especially after Bob passed away in 2006.

In 2014 Shirley moved to a retirement community in Anacortes, Washington, near family and the San Juan islands she loved. As her physical and cognitive health declined, she moved in with son Bob and daughter-in-law Gail on Orcas Island but wanted to come home to Montana. Recovering from a serious fall, she moved to Tender Nest Assisted Living in Billings where she passed away on November 2, 2018.

Shirley is pre-deceased by husband Bob and daughter Galynn. She is survived by sons Mark (Alfreida) Toombs, Bob (Gail) Toombs; daughter Kathryn (Tom) Smiley; grandson Kelly Toombs and their families. We will miss her tart observations and witty comebacks.

A celebration of Shirley’s life will be held Saturday, June 22, at 11:00 am at the Red Lodge Alliance Chapel, 605 Broadway Ave in Red Lodge, interment will be in the Red Lodge Cemetery.

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